The ExCollege and the Future of Higher Education

Today we began our 50th anniversary celebration weekend with a conference on the future of higher education. One of the conference highlights will be reflecting on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and how their presence will impact the traditional university. During the Fall 2013 semester, the ExCollege created a Quidnunc that allowed students to take MOOCs and discuss the experience with a group of peers. Ken Garden, ExCollege Board Chair and faculty member in the Religion Department, participated in the Quidnunc and shared his thoughts with us on MOOCs.

Written by Ken Garden, Religion Department and ExCollege Board Chair

2013-2014 has been a particularly eventful year at the ExCollege. In addition to our usual offerings of innovative and timely classes taught by practitioners, academic instructors, and students, we are celebrating a half century of the ExCollege at Tufts. The event will be marked by two exhibits on the ExCollege’s history, a gala held on April 12th, and a conference on the future of higher education on April 11th. The longevity of the ExCollege and the outpouring of support for its 50th anniversary speak to the vital role it plays in the life of the Tufts community.

Higher education is in the midst of one of its biggest experiments in years in the form of the Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC. The New York Times dubbed 2012 the “Year of the MOOC.” That year, Google’s Sebastian Thrun started a new company, Udacity, to offer free online university courses to as many students as wanted to enroll in them. He was so confident of the promise of MOOCs that he predicted that within 50 years there would remain only a small handful of higher education providers, the rest of the world’s universities having been swept away by this new “disruptive technology.” Stanford sponsored a new MOOC consortium, Coursera, and Harvard and MIT followed suit, launching EdX later that year.

It seemed fitting that the ExCollege should join the conversation on the MOOC. A group of Tufts students and I, including our own Board member Kumar Ramanathan (A’15), set out to look into this experiment ourselves, each of us enrolling in a MOOC. Between us, we enrolled in courses on topics ranging from contraception, to the hero in ancient Greek literature, to irony in the writing of Søren Kierkegaard, to the history of architecture, to the letters of Paul.

Our experiences in many cases echoed what we had read about the MOOC experience. Having paid nothing for the course and with no non-virtual connection to the instructor or other students, several of us stopped taking courses that didn’t interest us and enrolled in other ones. Online multiple choice quizzes, discussion boards, and peer-graded essays were a pale substitute for classroom interaction and instructor-graded assignments. While we all saw a real threat to companies that sell university courses on CD or DVD, we saw no mortal threat to the traditional brick and mortar university. Sebastian Thrun came to a similar conclusion at the end of 2013, declaring that his own Udacity had a “lousy product.”

Still, we also saw ongoing experimentation with the MOOC and all of us felt we learned from the courses we took. It will be interesting to see what it evolves into and what kind of role online courses, massive or otherwise, come to play in higher education.

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TuftsNow also reflected on the ExCollege’s exploration into the world of MOOCs with an article written by Gail Bambrick.

The ExCollege brought me to Tufts, and the ExCollege has kept me here.

Written by Kumar Ramanathan, A15

“Wait, what ExCollege class are you taking?”

This is a question I have asked friends, friends of friends, and strangers in Dewick more times that I care to count. My personal investment in each and every class comes as a surprise to some, but in every case I’ve heard fascinating and enthusiastic stories that make me proud to be a member of the ExCollege Board.

kumar

Kumar Ramanthan:
A15 and ExCollege Board member

I first met the Board in April last year, walking into the conference room as the perpetually nervous freshman that we all remember being. What struck me immediately was how friendly the group that faced me was, and how passionate they all were about making the ExCollege the best place it could be. Each member of the Board has their own interests and quirks, but all of those come together to make the right kind of mix that a place as eclectic as the ExCollege needs.

Being part of this team has been a wonderfully positive way to impact the lives of those around me. From organizing the Election Night Extravaganza to debating over the last two classes to be approved, each meeting is unabashedly and wholeheartedly directed towards making Tufts a better and more fun place. Most of all, being surrounded by such dedicated faculty and students has made me look at and appreciate Tufts in whole new ways.

The ExCollege brought me to Tufts, and the ExCollege has kept me here. My time in the Board is one of the most rewarding, fascinating, and fun experiences that Tufts has offered me, and I can’t wait to keep doing it.

The ExCollege is now accepting applications for the 2014-2015 Board. If you’re interested in applying, download the application from our website. All applications are due February 21.

Our Taste of Tufts Series: A Full Re-cap

The Taste of Tufts series initiated in 2012 aims to bring together faculty, staff, and students through the sharing of the amazing and ground-breaking research being done at Tufts. This fall, the ExCollege welcomed 4 faculty members to speak about their research and to initiate dialogue with a diverse audience. We’ve compiled a detailed listing of all Taste of Tufts lectures from this past fall so you can get a glimpse into the awesome things happening on our campus!

Ben Hescott, Computer Science

Professor Ben Hescott from Computer Science spoke as the opener of our Fall 2013 Taste of Tufts series. Professor Hescott dove into describing how the protein-protein interaction network is a collection of thousands and thousands of pairs of genes in some relationship. He compared this network to a social network like Facebook, where the ‘relationships’ can be represented as a graph. Professor Hescott informed the audience that in leveraging that information, we can actually devise new algorithms for biological discovery. According to Professor Hescott, his research presents algorithms using the protein-protein interaction network to discover compensatory pathways in yeast. These pathways are life’s “back-up” system and can be found using only high throughput data modeled like a social network.

Cathy Stanton, Anthropology

Earlier today, Cathy Stanton of the Anthropology Department spoke at our second Taste of Tufts lecture of the semester. She described her work studying traditional communities that have made their home on land now owned and managed by the National Park Service. Stanton has studied groups as diverse as the factory-worker Polish immigrant community in Salem, MA, engaging in what she calls “salvage ethnography,” to looking at how a traditionally run farm operates in the context of contemporary agricultural practices in Columbia County, NY. Most recently, the National Park Service asked Stanton to study the community of seasonal residents on Peddocks Island in Boston Harbor. Stanton said that although the traditional residents of the island were from three separate communities — Portuguese fishermen, summer residents who came to the island when cottages and hotels were built, and the officers and soldiers who were stationed at Fort Andrews on the island’s East Head — after five generations and years of intermarriage, the islanders now share a cohesive identity and sense of community that Stanton says is very much bound up in the unique place in which they’ve come together.

Read the full Tufts Daily article here.

Kelly McLaughlin, Biology

Earlier today, Professor Kelly McLaughlin of the Biology Department spoke at our Taste of Tufts lecture, discussing her work in developmental biology. McLaughlin works with South African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) as a model organism to study organ development and regeneration, specifically that of hearts and kidneys. According to McLaughlin, these frogs are ideal model organisms because they can be easily manipulated as embryos, their tissues can be explanted and transplanted, and because they’re transparent while developing, researchers can see their hearts beating and fluids pumping in their kidneys through their skin. McLaughlin’s lab looks at what effects turning on and off various genes within these frogs’ genomes have on their organ development. Some of the most fascinating work she’s done recently, though, arose after some of her colleagues asked her why so many frogs are disappearing. The answer? An herbicide called atrazine interferes with the frogs’ genetic pathways responsible for development, causing them to metamorphose into frogs before their bodies are physically capable of doing so.

Read the full Tufts Daily article here

Stephen Bailey, Anthropology

Dr. Stephen Bailey of the Anthropology Department joined us today for the final Taste of Tufts presentation of the academic year. Dr. Bailey spoke on his research looking at the growth and development of people living in high altitude climates. The majority of Dr. Bailey’s latest research focused on children living in Tibet. He and his colleagues looked at how elementary school children of different nationalities faired under the same environmental stressors. Going into the study, he stated that he and his team thought that adaptation to high elevations fell under the idea of “one size fits all” in that every human would adapt similarly to being at a high elevation. However, after diving further into his research, Dr. Bailey uncovered this to be untrue. Based on an individual’s genetic background, there are actually multiple ways of adapting to the high elevations both physically and physiologically!

Read the full Tufts Daily article here.

The Beginnings of EPIIC

The beginnings of the EPIIC program stem back to the Experimental College. The ideas that eventually served as the foundation of EPIIC began as ACOIL and the Symposium Project! Benji Cohen (A11) dug into the history of EPIIC this summer.

The Symposium Project

The Background: In the fall of 1985, Robyn Gittleman had an impromptu meeting with an academically curious Tufts student who wanted to promote intellectual life outside of the classroom. This conversation resulted in the creation of the Advisory Committee on Intellectual Life (ACOIL), which, as Robyn told the Tufts Observer, would create forums and discussions that were “intellectually challenging.” ACOIL was made up of three student representatives and Robyn. One of the committee’s first acts was to place national newspapers at “neutral locations on campus,” which ACOIL hoped would inspire off-the-cuff conversations between students about current events.

The Class: ACOIL’s first semester-long program was a seminar on International Terrorism and Political Violence led by Sherman Teichman and taught through the ExCollege. Robyn told the Observer that the class incorporated in-depth readings and brought in guest speakers with an expertise in terrorism. From the beginning of the fall semester, the class aimed to illuminate the basic issues and develop a keen understanding of terrorism, and then put their work toward a full-day symposium in the spring.

The Simulation: In November 1985 Sherman devised an eight-hour terrorist skyjacking simulation exercise for his students. On a Saturday morning, students reported to Braker Hall where they were confronted with the fictitious, albeit quite timely (a TWA flight had been hijacked in June 1985 by Hezbollah), news that a plane travelling from New York to Rome had been taken over by an extremist group called the Revolutionary International Phoenix. As the Tufts Daily reported, students played a variety of roles, which included the terrorists themselves, the American government, and the negotiating team. Sherman noted that that exercise helped students understanding “the frantic feeling of helplessness” and the “confusion that arises during crises not only intellectually, but emotionally. It’s an exercise of your entire brain.”

The Symposium: From February 28 – March 1 a collection of distinguished public intellectuals, academics, and policymakers descended on Tufts to participate in the culminating symposium sponsored by the ExCollege. The guests included: Dr. Michael Klare, ExCollege instructors from 1975 and defense correspondent for The Nation, Professor Martha Crenshsaw of Wesleyan University, and Tim Russert. The Boston Globe and the New York Times wrote expansive write-ups about the conference, and both publications noted the lack of consensus from the experts on how to deal with terrorism. The Tufts Daily estimated that 600 Tufts students and faculty attended the event.

Legacy: The Symposium Project taught through the ExCollege continued annually through 1990-1991. Topics ranged from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip crisis to the United States’ drug policy. In 1991, Sherman created Education for Public Inquiry and International Citizenship (EPIIC) and moved the program to the Tufts Institute for Global Leadership. The current framework of EPIIC continues to resemble that first ExCollege seminar.

The Agora, Fall 1970

Written by Benji Cohen, A11 and Summer Graduate Intern

The Background: Borrowing the event name Agora from the Greek for “gathering place,” the Experimental College held an open event on the library roof for students and faculty to talk to ExCollege instructors, learn about a variety of student organizations, and watch artistic performances.

The Event: The Tufts Observer opened their comments on the event by noting that the ExCollege “agora, probably the first in American history, was held on Wessell Library roof last Sunday evening.” For two hours, ExCollege course leaders dialogued with the over 300 visitors, while the Beelzebubs sang a capella and a modern dance troupe preformed. In addition, students groups like Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), and the Christian Fellowship used the agora as a marketplace, selling literature and dialoguing with their peers and professors. According to the Observer two “craftsmen peddled peace pipes.”

The Fight: The agora was “thrown open,” according to the Observer, by a “memorable verbal fray between members of YSA and SDS.” In the middle of the already chaotic event, student representatives from both groups tossed verbal jabs at each other attempting to one-up the other in front of the large student crowd. The Observer editorialized that the fight “added spice to it all.” When the fight finally died down, the Observer’s unofficial poll showed that “SDS appeared to win more popular support” than YSA. The reporter speculated, however, that the SDS victory may have been a result of the “weenies and home-made cakes and cookies” rather than their political ideology.

Preparing for our 50th Anniversary

2014 marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Experimental College at Tufts. In preparation for a series of events this coming spring, we’re very busy sorting through old course books, posters, newspaper articles, instructor bios, and so much more in order to put together a comprehensive look at the past five decades. Diving into such a rich and complex history produces some wonderful ExCollege artifacts that need to be shared! As we come across these interesting ExCollege facts, figures, and photographs, we’ll be sharing them on our blog.

Here is an early sampling of photographs discovered going through old reports created by the ExCollege.

The Express!

Friday, February 1

Join the ExCollege: Become a Board Member or a Peer Leader!

Dive into the inner-workings of the ExCollege by joining the ExCollege Board or becoming an Explorations or Perspectives Peer Leader.

The ExCollege Board consists of 5 faculty members and 5 students and meets once per month. The Board tackles policy, discusses ExCollege initiatives and programs, and ultimately decides what courses will be offered to all Tufts students each semester. Each Board meeting allows both student and faculty members to plan ahead for the ExCollege while offering a welcoming atmosphere where everyone’s voice is heard. Download an application now and submit it to the ExCollege by February 22nd.

Have you ever wanted to teach at Tufts? Consider becoming a Peer Leader through the Explorations or Perspectives programs. Teams of two upperclassmen lead a first-year seminar in addition to acting as orientation leaders and mentors for their group of first-year students. Design your own course, earn 1.5 credits, and have a great teaching experience! Check out the FAQs for both programs, download an application, and submit your course proposal by March 13th. You can even head over to our blog to read about the experience of a Fall 2012 Explorations leader, John Dame. An Information Meeting for both Explorations and Perspectives will be held on Tuesday, February 5th at 9:30pm in Room 220 of the Campus Center.

A Taste of Tufts Review: Sam Sommers

Written by Lenea Sims, A15 & ExCollege student worker

With the new semester comes a new lineup of A Taste of Tufts! Sponsored by your very own Experimental College and supported by the SPIRIT Fund, A Taste of Tufts is a lecture series dedicated to bringing some of Tufts finest professors in front of a crowd that may not normally get to see them speak. This semester’s series began today with Associate Professor Sam Sommers from the Psychology department. Professor Sommers opened up his talk—titled “Examining Racial Diversity: A Behavioral Science Approach”—by acknowledging the differing views often surrounding his topic. “There’s a lot of discussion and debate about diversity,” he said. “It’s a particularly controversial and polarizing concept.”

After briefly acknowledging the ethical and legal side of the debate, he quickly turned to what he knows best, saying, “What are the effects of diversity? How can we study the question of diversity empirically that tells us something about the societal effects?” He then dove into some of the more recent studies done in his lab at Tufts; each one completed with the aid of undergraduate and graduate students whose names he happily credits in his findings. In one, for example, he found that when white students interact with someone of a different race, they often experience more anxiety and show signs of cognitive depletion—symptoms that they don’t nearly as often display when working with another white student. In other words, when faced with dealing with someone of a different race, students became so concerned about making that person like them, that they became mentally exhausted.

Professor Sommers closed his talk and took a few questions, ending by reminding students to always go into situations looking to have a genuine connection rather than worrying about if the person they were dealing with would like them in the end. It’s a concept he admits is a bit “Mr. Rogers-sounding,” but we can all agree that it’s certainly a nice outlook to have.

Updated Taste of Tufts Schedule

After some minor shuffling around, the ExCollege has updated its schedule for this semester’s Taste of Tufts presentations. Be sure to reserve every Friday from 12pm—1pm on your calendar to catch up on the latest faculty research.

  • February 8: Ken Garden, Religion
  • February 15: Nina Gerassi-Navarro, Romance Languages
  • February 22: Anthony Monaco, President
  • March 1: Mary Davis, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
  • March 8: TBA
  • March 29: Ayanna Thomas, Psychology
  • April 5: Benjamin Hescott, Computer Science
  • April 12: Noe Montez, Drama and Dance
  • April 19: David Harris, Provost and Senior Vice President

Sneak Peek into the Annual Newsletter

Each year, the ExCollege produces a massive newsletter, the E-News, to update current students, faculty members, staffers, and alumni on the most important ExCollege news. A range of articles are written by various authors for a wide range of perspectives! You can look forward to reading articles by:

  • Sara Harari, A12 and creator of “A Taste of Tufts”
  • John Harrison, A12 and former ExCollege student worker
  • Sarah Moser, returning Visiting Lecturer of “Asian Cities in the 21st Century”
  • Mimi Arbeit, Visiting Lecturer of “Sexual Wellness on College Campuses”
  • Kumar Ramanthan, A15 and student ExCollege Board member
  • Phil Starks, ExCollege Board chair
  • Madeline Hall, A13 and former Explorations Leader
  • Samantha Tye, A13 and former Perspectives Leader
  • Robyn Gittleman, Director of the ExCollege
  • Howard Woolf, Associate Director of the ExCollege
  • Beky Stiles, A12 and ExCollege Program Assistant

Be on the lookout for the latest edition of the E-News in late February! In the meantime, glance over archived newsletters to learn about previous ExCollege endeavors.

Still searching for the perfect study group?

Worried about that upcoming test or confused by your homework? Don’t know anyone in your class yet? JumboStudy, a new mobile peer-to-peer study service, can help! Log on at http://jumbostudy.tufts.edu to view available study groups for your classes or propose new study groups. Where and what you study is up to you! For more information, check out http://sites.tufts.edu/atfellows/projects/jumbostudy/.

Did you know…

Every year the ExCollege receives over 140 course proposals from professionals, grad students, educators, and more in the greater-Boston area wanting to teach. The process to whittle that number down to 22/23 takes an entire semester of sending out solicitation materials, processing each application, interviewing each candidate, and holding the full-day Board meeting in order to finalize the upcoming semester’s course list.

Around Campus

New semesters always bring about a lot of ‘firsts’: first semester trip to the Rez, first day of classes, first Sunday Sundae (& Thursday), and (of course) first special event of the semester. If you haven’t yet attended an event, make your first event outing one to remember! Check out these upcoming programs, and be sure to scroll through TuftsLife and Tufts Events for even more insight into happenings on the Hill.

  • Get your art on by heading over to a Tomasso Lecture!

The Department of Art and Art History presents “Michelangelo, Bandinelli, and Bernini: The Long Goodbye.” This Tomasso Lecture will be given by Dr. Maria Loh of University College London. Head over to Granoff 155 at 5:30pm on Monday, February 4th to dive into the world of art history. See the full event flyer here.

  • Want to take your business idea to the next level?

The Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition is gearing up for 2013! An Information Session will be held on Wednesday, February 6th from 12pm to 1pm in Anderson’s Burden Lounge. Be a part of one of the country’s biggest university-sponsored competitions, and earn money to transform your idea into a business. Submissions are due February 22nd.

The Express!

Join the ExCollege Board!

The ExCollege is beginning the search for new students to join its Board! The ExCollege Board consists of 5 Tufts faculty members as well as 5 current Tufts students. The ExCollege Board meets once a month and works toward setting policy, selecting new courses for each semester, planning campus events, and developing new initiatives for the ExCollege. Get a glimpse into the current ExCollege Board by reading our faculty and student Board members’ biographies!

 

If you are interested or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call the ExCollege at 617-627-3384, email us at excollege@tufts.edu, or drop by our office at 95 Talbot Avenue! The application is available on our website, and all applications are due Friday, February 22nd.

Did You Know…

The ExCollege Board included student members soon after convening for the first time, breaking from previous traditions. By the spring of 1966, the student board members were given full voting rights. It was also at the suggestion of a student board member that the ExCollege invited its first Visiting Lecturer to teach at Tufts in 1968.

Teach at Tufts: Explorations and Perspectives

Have you ever wanted to design a class, mentor first-year students, and become a part of a tight-knit community at Tufts? Apply to be a part of the Explorations or Perspectives program! These programs allow rising juniors and seniors to co-teach a course in addition to advising a group of first-year students through orientation and their first semester on the Hill.

The Explorations program allows leaders to select a topic about which they feel passionate or have an expertise and create a 13-week syllabus. The Perspectives program focuses around a shared topic area, the ‘Movies’ as Business, Art, and Culture. Perspectives leaders do decide on the approaches they will use to teach their class. The Explorations program is coordinated by Director Robyn Gittleman, and the Perspectives program is run by Associate Director Howard Woolf.

 

Read up on the FAQs for Explorations and Perspectives, and download the application! A GIM for all interested students of both programs will take place Friday, February 1st at 2pm in the conference room of our office, 95 Talbot Avenue.

Registration Continues!

Registration for all ExCollege (and Tufts courses) will continue until Thursday, January 31st at 5pm. There is still time to add that perfect class! Spots remain open in these ExCollege classes:

  • EXP-0002-S The Ethnography of Religious Communities, Tuesdays from 6-8:30pm in Olin 107 (This course has been approved by the Religion department to count for Humanities distribution credit. You can reach the instructor at Kirsten.Wesselhoeft@tufts.edu.)
  • EXP-0032-S Sexual Wellness on College Campuses, Thursdays from 6-8:30pm in Aidekman 13 (Review the preliminary syllabus here.)
  • EXP-0060-S Authoritarianism in the Age of the Internet, Tuesdays from 6:30-9pm in Barnum 114 (This course will count toward the Mass Communications and Media Studies minor as a Social Sciences elective.)
  • EXP-0061-S Enemies and Neighbors: Israeli and Palestinian Fiction, Wednesdays from 6-8:30pm in Barnum 114 (Review the preliminary syllabus here.)

You can find the full Spring 2013 course listings on our main website, and register on SIS today!

 

Taste of Tufts: A Sampling of Faculty Research

Taste of Tufts is back for the spring! Meet your favorite professors as well as new Tufts instructors from across the Hill as they discuss their latest research. The first sampling of faculty research will take place one week from today! Sam Sommers, Psychology Department, will speak on Friday, February 1st from 12pm to 1pm, at Pearson 106. Save the date and keep reading for the preliminary Spring 2013 Taste of Tufts schedule!

  • February 8: Ken Garden, Religion
  • February 15: TBA
  • February 22: Anthony Monaco, President
  • March 1: Mary Davis, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
  • March 8: TBA
  • March 29 Ayanna Thomas, Psychology
  • April 5: Ben Hescott, Computer Science
  • April 12: Noe Montez, Drama and Dance
  • April 19: David Harris, Provost

All Taste of Tufts gatherings will meet on Fridays from 12pm to 1pm and a light lunch will be served.

 

Do you want to win $500?

Tisch Library is currently on the hunt for submissions for the Undergraduate Research Award. This award recognizes outstanding use of library resources and the development of expertise in an exemplary research paper or project. Submissions can be made in the following categories:

  • The first-year writing program (ENG 1-4 or any course taken to fulfill the college writing requirement)
  • 001-099 level courses
  • 100-200 level courses

Each category will name one student winner and recipient of $500. The runner-up in each category will receive $250. That is enough (and more!) to foot your Tower Café bill for your next research endeavor! Check out the full description and nitty-gritty details on the Tisch website.

 

Stay updated on all things ExCollege

Like tweeting, posting to Facebook, and blogging? So do we! Be sure to catch up with us online to stay on top of the latest ExCollege news.

 

Around Campus

Don’t be afraid to brave the cold for some amazing music events taking place around campus this week. Put on that extra scarf, wear gloves under your mittens, and head over to Granoff and Goddard! You’ll be invigorated after your brief stint in the cold, and you’ll be even more ready to appreciate the music (and warmth!) that awaits you.

  • Support an important cause by attending Singing for Sudan!

Singing for Sudan is a benefit concert taking place in Goddard at 7pm on Saturday, January 26th. The suggested donation is $5, and proceeds will go to the Yida Refugee Camp. The concert will feature The Amalgamates, The Jackson Jills, the Ladies of Essence, S-Factor, Barbara Florvil, and Patrick Kabanda. Don’t miss out on this great event presented by the Chaplaincy and the Africana Center. Check out the Facebook event page!

  • Immerse yourself in the music of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East!

Mal Barsamian, performance faculty member, will take over Distler in Granoff this Sunday, January 27th to feature the music of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. Barsamian will be accompanied by percussionist Jay Baronian and will feature works by composers of Armenian, Turkish, and Arab descent. This installment of the Community Concert Series will run from 3pm to 5pm. Mark it on your calendar!

The Express!

Friday, December 7: The Last Express of the Semester

Be a part of the ExCollege!

If you have ever wanted to command a classroom, think about joining either the Explorations or Perspectives freshmen seminar programs as a Peer Leader! Our Peer Leaders co-teach a seminar, lead their students through orientation, and act as student advisors during the fall semester. Going abroad in the spring but still want to teach in the fall? Our application is available on our website and can be submitted online! Check out the FAQs about Explorations and Perspectives, and download the application today.

Gearing up for the spring!

Despite the warm weather still months away, we over here at the ExCollege have already set our sights on the upcoming semester. Since the deadline for spring course proposals on October 5, our office has worked to whittle through the pile to bring Tufts students the very best ExCollege offerings for next semester. The ExCollege Board will come together for a daylong meeting next week to finalize what 22 courses will claim both a classroom and room full of Tufts students. A preliminary list of spring classes will be listed on our website on December 14.

Registration for all ExCollege courses begins at 9am on the first day of spring semester classes, Wednesday, January 16. All Wednesday ExCollege courses will begin the night of January 16!

Stay updated on all things ExCollege

Like Facebook, Twitter, and blogging? So do we! Be sure to catch up with us online to stay on top of the latest ExCollege news.

Semester in Review

When the temperature drops and students huddle in Tisch cubicles with caffeine in one hand and a textbook in the other, you know the end of the semester is near. As the ExCollege wraps up another semester, we took the time to reminisce about the past four months. The ExCollege tackled some major milestones this fall:

  • Welcoming in and training 30 new Perspectives and Explorations Leaders
  • Beginning preparation for our 50th Anniversary (April 2014—mark your calendars!)
  • Creating a brand new database to digitize the course proposal reading process
  • Reaching out to Admissions to create ExCollege videos and articles for the Admissions website and magazine
  • Planning and running the Election Night Extravaganza 2012
  • Supporting 23 phenomenal Visiting Lecturer courses
  • Watching Howard Woolf’s film premiere of Marranos
  • Holding the first ever Perspectives Olympics

Phew! This long list certainly kept us busy this semester, and after we take a quick moment to inhale, our office will continue to put together the course offerings for the spring semester. To check out pictures and descriptions of our fall events, head over to our Facebook album!

In the Classroom

Instructor A. David Lewis and his class “Religion and the Graphic Novel” invited artist JT Waldman, who worked with Harvey Pekar on the graphic novel “Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me,” to speak in their last class. Dave opened the discussion to both Tufts students not enrolled in his class and the entire online community! The Sequart Research and Literary Organization broadcasted the talk live, and Dave recently uploaded a full unedited version of JT Waldman’s talk at Tufts to YouTube! Stay tuned for Dave’s edited cut of the class.

Need a study break before diving head first into reading period? Attend the Comedy Night in Hotung, hosted and presented by the students of Steve Kapica’s “Analyzing Stand-up Comedy” class. These comedians will each give a five minute set to the crowd in Hotung. Stop by Hotung on Monday, December 10 to chortle with some friends, cheer on your peers, and celebrate the last day of fall semester classes! The event begins at 8:30pm and will run until 11pm.

And the winner is…

After an intense competition last Friday, the Sidekicks in Film class earned the right to call themselves the first ever champions of Perspectives Olympics! Despite the very close race among teams throughout the scavenger hunt, Scene It trivia game, and talent show, the Sidekicks class ultimately won and put on a great talent show performance with their take on the now classic Napoleon Dynamite dance.

To get a glimpse into the Games, take a look at the Twitter feed for #PerspectivesOlympics and scroll through the @ExCollege page for pictures collected along the scavenger hunt. All teams, Sports Movies (aka Team Denzel), Hollywood’s Army, Films of Genocide (aka Team Didn’t See Us Coming), and Sidekicks showed some great competitive spirit and made the first ever Perspectives Olympics a success!

Did You Know…

The first board of the ExCollege was composed of faculty members representing four different fields: engineering, social science, natural science, and humanities, with one member-at-large. Almost immediately after convening, the board broke from Tufts tradition by including students in the decision-making process of the college. By the spring of 1966, the board unanimously agreed that its four student members be given full voting rights.

Around Campus

Make sure to get your fill of all things Jumbo before heading off of the Hill for winter break! Scroll through full listings of the final events of the semester on both Tufts Events and TuftsLife. Keep reading for two great upcoming programs!

  • Love filmmaking? Watch the final film projects of the ‘Producing Films for Social Change’ class!

The Communications and Media Studies (CMS) Department will be holding this annual screening on Tuesday, December 11 at 7pm in Tisch 304. Support your peers and your friends as three groups of students present their final films! The films include The Receipt of Happiness, a film by Robert Collins, Grace Demyan, Jacob Passy, and Doug Stone, Finding Refuge, by Charmaine Poh, Maya Navon, and Annie Garau, and The Day After Tomorrow, by Ethan Freedman, Yijia Wang, and Gabriela Ros. For more details and insight into these films, head over to the CMS website and join the Facebook group!

  • Enjoy dance? Check out the end of the semester Kiniwe performance!

This year’s Kiniwe performance includes new choreography by director Nani Agbeli. The pieces represent strong connections to the Ewe tradition of Ghana. Follow your feet to the Distler Performance Hall on Sunday, December 9! Kiniwe begins at 8pm and runs until 10pm. Get more Kiniwe details on the Music Department website.